THE ACOLYTE Showrunner Reveals Why She Hired A Writer Who Had Never Seen Any Of The Movies

Star Wars: The Acolyte has released only a single trailer and, for whatever reason, the Disney+ series is already splitting opinions. We’ll leave you to speculate on why that might be, but new comments from showrunner Leslye Headland are bound to only lead to further heated debate among fans. 

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter (via SFFGazette.com) about putting together this eight-episode first season, the Russian Doll creator explained why it was important to her to bring someone into the writers’ room who had no prior knowledge of the Star Wars franchise. 

“I just thought it would be good to have the perspective of a person that had literally never seen Star Wars until she was in the room,” Headland tells the trade. “And she said to me, ‘Why do you want me in this room? I’ve never seen Star Wars. I have no idea. I think there’s a dog in it, but I don’t know anything.'”

“And I was like, ‘First of all, you’re an incredible writer, but that’s why I want you here. I want you to be questioning narrative. I don’t want myself, who’s a lifelong fan, to just be relying on particular references in order to create emotional beats. I want those emotional beats to be earned and checked by someone that isn’t super familiar with it.'”

“And it was really funny because she finally watched the Original Trilogy over that Christmas. She watched the Prequels, too, but she kept texting me [about the Original Trilogy] and was like, ‘Luke and Vader are…'” Headland recalls. “All those things that we’ve known forever were blowing her mind.”

“She was like, ‘Luke and Leia are brother and sister!? What the f*ck!?’ She was writing all these things to me, and I just thought it was so funny. So she educated herself in order to be in the room, but it was really fun to have somebody like her to help collaborate.”

This is bound to raise eyebrows among Star Wars fans who want to see these projects carefully crafted by experts, but it’s one writer and Headland makes a compelling point for why their presence could have benefited the wider story being told. 

There’s also no need to panic because, elsewhere in this conversation, The Acolyte showrunner shared insights into the many Easter Eggs we’ll see in a series she’s also confirmed “didn’t use the Volume at all” (remember when doing so was considered a good thing?).

“You will see a little bit of Vernestra Rwoh from the High Republic novels. She ends up being live-action for the first time, so that’s definitely a cameo for that audience, I would say. You see a lot of cameos of alien species that I don’t think I’ve seen in post-Disney live-action, meaning a Zygerrian Jedi and a half-Theelin, half-human Jedi.”

“There’s also a lot of stuff from the EU that I got to utilize. Nobody stopped me, so I did it,” Headland adds. “So if you’re a fan, there will be a species that you might recognize. There are also certain narrative elements. Basically, there are enough Easter eggs if you’re a fan of the Original Trilogy, the Prequels or The Clone Wars. And then there’s some EU sprinkled in.”

We’re intrigued to see how this one comes together, particularly as it looks to be such a drastic narrative departure for the Disney-owned era of Lucasfilm (the story plays out at the end of The High Republic era, roughly 100 years before the events of The Phantom Menace). 

Star Wars: The Acolytle arrives on Disney+ with a two-episode premiere on June 4.